OceanSide church of Christ

 Previous Return to Hebrews Next 


Hebrews 8:3-6a

Victor M. Eskew


I.                   HIS POWER (Heb. 8:1)


II.                HIS POSITION (Heb. 8:2)


III.             HIS PRACTICE (Heb. 8:3)


A.    Offerings of the earthly high priest (Heb. 8:3a)


For every high priest is ordained to offer gifts and sacrifices…


1.      High priests are “ordained” to offer…

a.      Ordained

1)      Strong (2525):  to place down (permanently), to designate      :- appoint

2)      Thayer:  to set, place, put, to set over a thing, to appoint one to administer an office

b.      Offering gifts and sacrifices was one of the main functions of the high priest.

2.      He was ordained to offer gifts and sacrifices.

a.      This point had been made in Hebrews 5:1 also.


For every high priest take from among men is ordained for men in things pertaining to God, that he may offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins.


1)      There was a cause:  sin.

2)      There was a need:  offering

3)      There was an official:  the priest

b.      The word “sacrifice” involves a “victim.”  The word “gift” can involve a sacrifice, but it also involves other things that might be offered to God:  grains, wine, money, etc.


B.      Offerings of the High Priest, Jesus (Heb. 8:3b)


…wherefore it is of necessity that this man have somewhat also to offer.


1.      Since one of the primary duties of a high priest was to offer sacrifices, it was “necessary” that Jesus offer something.

a.      Strong (316):  necessary                     :- needful

b.      Thayer:  necessary, what one cannot do without, indispensable, what ought according to the law of duty be done, what is required by the circumstances

2.      The writer does not describe what Jesus offered.  He only states that it was necessary for Him to offer something.  In chapters 9 and 10, the writer will focus upon the sacrifice of Jesus.

3.      It is interesting that the writer refers to Jesus as “this man.” 

a.      Sometimes the writers of the New Testament focus on the human element of Jesus (I Tim. 2:5).

b.      Some of the roles which Jesus has necessitates that He be a man.  This is true in his role as a high priest.  He must be able to sympathize with humanity.




IV.             HIS PROHIBITION (Heb. 8:4-5)


A.    Proscribed from the priesthood (Heb. 8:4a)


For if he were on earth, he should not be a priest…


1.      This thought has been set forth in Hebrews 7:13-14.

2.      It is mentioned here to reaffirm that His priesthood is NOT an earthly priesthood.


B.      Permitted to be priests (Heb. 8:4b-5)

1.      The existing priests (Heb. 8:4b)


…seeing that there are priests that offer gifts according to the law.


a.      This involved the high priest.

b.      It also involved the Levitical priesthood who served the high priest.

c.       NOTE:  “The present tense of the verb provides a time frame for the date of this letter.  Seeing that the priests were still making their offerings, we can only conclude that the Temple was still standing, and the Jewish sacrifices being offered at the time this letter was written.  Once the Roman armies destroyed Jerusalem in 70 A.D. the Levitical system ceased to function and along with it all sacrifices ceased” (Wacaster, 293).

2.      The example of heavenly things (Heb. 8:5a)


Who serve unto the example and shadow of heavenly things…


a.      The Levitical system was an example and shadow of that which existed in the heavens.

b.      Example:

1)      Strong (5262):  an exhibit,  a specimen

2)      Thayer:  an example, a representation, a copy, figure

3)      Barnes:  “…the mere emblem of the reality which exists in heaven” (e-sword).

c.       Shadow

1)      Strong (4639):  shade

2)      Thayer:  shade, an image cast by an object and representing the form of that object

3)      That which indicates the form, but has no substance or reality. 

d.      Types and shadows can be a very long study.  Just the priesthood, the temple and the sacrifices that were offered would be a detailed study in types.

1)      People are types:  Moses

2)      Places are types:  Canaan

3)      Animals are types:  Passover lamb

4)      Objects are types:  Mercy seat

5)      Positions are types:  high priest

3.      The exhortation to Moses (Heb. 8:5b)


…as Moses was admonished of God, when he was about to make the tabernacle:  for, See, saith he, that thou make all things according to the pattern showed thee in the mount.


a.      God revealed the “pattern” of the tabernacle to Moses while he was on Mount Sinai.

1)      Strong (5179):  a model for imitation

2)      Thayer:  the pattern in conformity to which a thing must be made

b.      When it was time to construct the tabernacle, God “admonished” Moses to make it according to the pattern given unto him.

1)      Admonished

a)      Strong (5537):  to utter an oracle

b)      Thayer:  to be divinely commanded or instructed

2)      …”man is in no position to question, alter, substitute, rearrange, or in any other way mess with God’s design” (Wacaster, 295)

3)      “To alter, change, add to, substitute, or any way deviate from that pattern is a colossal mistake which brands any man as arrogant and proud in that he thinks he knows better than God how things ought to be done” (Wacaster, 296).

4)      Notice that God told Moses to make “all things” according to the pattern.

5)      Exo. 25:8-9; 26:30


And let them make me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them.  According to all that I shew thee, after the pattern of the tabernacle, and the pattern of all the instruments thereof, even so shall ye make it.


c.       LESSON:  If it were necessary for Moses to construct the earthly tabernacle according to the pattern God gave him, isn’t it even more imperative for the heavenly tabernacle to be constructed according to the pattern of God’ Word?

1)      II Timothy 1:13


Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.


2)      Some argue that a pattern for the church does not exist in the New Testament.  If this is the case, then man can do just about anything he pleases.

3)      If this is the case, then the earthly tabernacle construction was of more importance to God than the construction of the heavenly tabernacle. 

4)      The truth is that when God told Moses to make it according to the pattern, He was exhorting us to do likewise since the tabernacle was a shadow of heavenly things.

a)      A pattern for entrance into the church

b)      A pattern for worship

c)      A pattern for our works

d)     A pattern for church organization

e)      A pattern for behavior


V.                HIS PREEMINENCE (Heb. 8:6a)


But now hath he obtained a more excellent ministry…


A.    The whole purpose of this discussion has been designed to show the superiority of Christ’s priesthood over the Levitical priesthood.


B.      The writer refers to it as “a more excellent ministry.”

1.      Strong (1313):  surpassing

2.      Thayer:  excellent, surpassing


C.     Barnes:  “A service of a higher order, or of a more exalted nature.  It was the real and substantial service of which the other was but the emblem…” (e-sword).